Pastoral letter: Sept 7, 2021
A few weeks ago, my family took a vacation in the wilds of West Virginia, and we spent a day hiking to the top of a peak called Lion's Head in the Dolly Sods Wilderness. As we rested at the summit, we noticed a spider on a rock next to us cast out a bit of silk and take to the air. We were at about 3700 feet elevation, higher even than the eagles circling in the surrounding valleys, yet this little spider floated higher and higher, further and further into the Allegheny Mountains, until we couldn't see it anymore.
I was struck by how tiny and defenseless this spider was as it floated into the unknown, and by the miracle of instinct that prompted it to cast its silk, take flight on the wind, and entrust its destination to its Creator. It reminded me of a famous line by Hildegard of Bingen, a medieval abbess, author, composer, and naturalist: "I am a feather on the breath of God." How might we, like feathers and spiders, trust the breath of God to carry us where we need to go?
(Also, I really enjoyed this article about spider flight!)
On Sunday, we began our short sermon series on the book of James. Katie kicked us off with a few contemplative exercises so that we could each encounter the scripture the way James instructs: as doers, not just hearers. I did the anger exercise and, well, turns out my anger needs some attention! If you'd like more time with any of the exercises from Sunday, they're available here.
So many of you contributed $20 gift cards for Afghan refugees these past two Sundays. THANK YOU! If you didn't get a chance to contribute but would like to, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will not be helping to resettle an Afghan family into a new home this week, but we are still hopeful for a future opportunity! The way these resettlements work is rapidly changing, as are the ways aid agencies are coordinating volunteers, and so we will remain flexible and ready to jump in and help where most needed. We are praying that God would continue guiding us into ways to love our Afghan neighbors.
In the meantime, please continue your prayers for Afghan families. I was in a meeting with local aid agencies this week who said the level of trauma these refugees have experienced is beyond anything they've seen before. The needs are enormous, and serving them will be a marathon, not a sprint, upheld by lots and lots of prayer. If you're moved to pray, join us on Zoom for midday prayer every Tuesday and Thursday at noon. Links to join here.
Finally, small groups begin next week! Information and signups on the website. We hope everyone will take this opportunity to go deeper in scripture and community. Invite a friend!